Light Seekers #4 – Leve

I stuff the things that I own into my backpack. Money, mask, clothes, and anything else that will fit from the trunk. The scent of smoke in the air is undeniable but the actual smoke hasn’t made it here yet. Outside was once pitch black, being cut only by the dim street lights. Now it’s filled with bright reds and oranges. The quiet hum of the generators is gone, replaced by the wailing of people, the clashing of swords, sporadic gunfire and small explosions either caused by magic or bombs. They did all the talking of war and we were the victims. We were the ones to fall first.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t have family because there’s nobody holding me back as I run through the streets, dodging fires and small clashes. I can’t breathe, I feel like the world is caving in on me. The familiar sensation of vomit comes and I’m forced to lean over in the streets. I don’t get much further, before I watch another skirmish. Two men using magic, neither very good. One throwing balls of fire, another throwing rocks and stones from the air. I start to dry heave, I want to puke again but there’s nothing left. I cut through an alley, trying to make my way to the abandoned building I practice in.

I lift the old debris out of the way and uncover the stairs to the basement. I climb down and tuck myself in a corner. Above I can still hear the sounds of chaos, they come closer before they fade and eventually there’s nothing. I’m sure the battle is over, I don’t know who won but I’m afraid to go check it out. I thought I was going to face sorcerers but here I am hiding from ordinary people.

“You down there,” I hear Levi’s voice, but I don’t answer. “Najar,” he keeps calling.

“What,” I climb up the stairs.

“I thought you might have died,” his face seems genuinely concerned.

“No, just, just a little shaken up.”

“Me too,” he sits down leaning against a wall before join him.

We discuss the madness that just happened and was finished in thirty minutes. I was outside trying to practice my magic when it all started, at first, I thought a generator had blown up after running for days without stop. Levi’s father led a small group of men. He’s expecting Levi to join him in the retaliation attack. He’s afraid, he doesn’t say it, but I can sense it. No, I can see it. Every so often a bit of light from the flames will flow in and I can see his pale face tinted orange. I’m afraid too, but not the same way he’s afraid. He’s afraid because he knows more fighting is what he’s supposed to do. His family can live well when the light shines, but in the darkness, they have to prove their worth. That means they have to fight to show they’re worthy to be one of the top families. Even if they aren’t the wealthiest or most powerful, they still have to fight for their position. I don’t have any of that on my shoulders. I simply have to fight for survival, maybe not even fight. I just have to make it to the mountain top. I’m more desperate than ever. I wish I could say it was to make sure nobody has to ever fight again, but I’m not that good. I just want to make sure that I never have to it come to my home again.

“Are you still going,” Levi turns to me.

“Where?”

“Up the mountain.”

There’s no hesitation in my answer. “I don’t think I have a choice anymore.”

“Can I come with you?”

“Why?”

“Because I can’t do this. I can’t kill anyone. I can barely use magic, I can’t even do it when someone is looking. I’ll die if I march with my father and his men.”

I know he’ll slow me down, but right now, it’ll be better to move as a group. “We have to leave soon.”

“I can get us some supplies. When do you want to go?”

“As soon as possible, I’m already packed.”

“I know some people, they were supposed to go to another town. Maybe we can catch a ride with them.”

“I’ll think about it. Just make sure you get ready.”

I watch him scurry out of the building, motivated to leave finally. I told him to get ready, but I’m not ready. I don’t have a plan. I’ve got a mask, and some cheap throwing knives I bought. I can’t even throw the knives because I get sick every time I use magic. I just don’t want to die. I don’t care if it’s starvation, marching into war or getting eaten by something out there in the wild. I don’t want to die, I have to make it to that mountain. I have to bring back the light. I have to make the sun rise. I just wish I wasn’t so afraid.

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